Counter-Apologetics: What is Counter-Apologetics?

by Luke Muehlhauser on March 26, 2010 in Podcast

counter-apologetics

(See the index for all episodes of Counter-Apologetics.)

Today I present the debut episode of a my new podcast, Counter-Apologetics.

Download episode 01: What is Counter Apologetics? (5:46)

[music: remix of "Knights of Cydonia" by DJ Irish]

Transcript:

In this first episode I want to explain what I think counter-apologetics is and why I’m doing this podcast.

Let’s start with something most of you probably know. The word ‘apologetics’ comes from the Greek word ‘apologia’ which means ‘a defense.’ So, an apologetic is an intellectual defense of some position. You can put forward an apologetic for democracy or abortion or capitalism or anything you can defend with evidence and argument. But in America, anyway, the word ‘apologetics’ is most closely associated with Christian apologetics – an intellectual defense of Christian belief.

Christian apologetics is a huge industry with hundreds of Christian philosophers and scientists and historians and laypeople writing books and articles and websites, participating in public debates, and teaching university courses on how to defend Christian belief and try to persuade other people that there are good reasons to think that Christianity is true. There’s a lot of money and time and effort and very smart people behind this project, and there’s comparatively little skeptical response to it all. Now recently we have had the New Atheists write some big books, and there are hardworking religious skeptics plugging away at the Secular Web and Prometheus Press and the Atheist Experience TV show and other places, but understandably alot of people just aren’t interested to devote their time and money and careers to debunking the claims of Christian apologists, for the same reason that most people aren’t going to devote their lives to debunking the claims of conspiracy theorists and UFO nutjobs and so on.

So this podcast is a response to Christian apologetics. I’m going to be examining the claims and tactics of Christian apologists and then equipping you with skeptical responses to them.

Now, you’ll notice this isn’t a show about atheistic apologetics. I’m not going to be defending the truth of atheism or metaphysical naturalism or ethical naturalism. I’m really just responding to Christian apologists, and that’s why this show is called ‘Counter Apologetics’, not ‘Atheistic Apologetics.’ I’m not defending atheism, but rather casting doubts on the outrageous claims of Christian apologetics.

So again, this isn’t a show about why I believe what I do believe about the universe or science or whatever. This is a show about why I don’t believe – why I don’t believe that Christianity is true.

So why am I doing this podcast? Why do I care? I care because the truth matters. It matters whether morality comes from God or whether we have to figure it out on our own. It matters whether disease is caused by demons or by micro-organisms. It matters whether the Bible is the work of an omniscient being or ignorant, ancient writers. It matters to people trying to decide whether to devote their lives to Christian ministry or to some other interest they have, whether it be business or engineering or art. It matters to people who want to make the world a better place. It matters to me, and if you’re listening to this podcast, it matters to you. The truth matters.

So in each episode, I will examine a particular claim or argument made by a Christian apologist. I’ll reason carefully, I’ll quote my sources, and I’ll finish in less than 10 minutes. And that’s what you can expect from Counter-Apologetics.

(In addition to the regular blog feed, there is also a podcast-only feed. You can also subscribe on iTunes.)

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

RA March 26, 2010 at 6:20 am

Interesting techno opening. I couldn’t listen to the podcast because I was worn out from dancing.

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Ben March 26, 2010 at 6:32 am

Hope the format works for you. Good luck.

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Christof Jans March 26, 2010 at 6:38 am

Very, very cool. Looking forward to it.

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Silas March 26, 2010 at 6:39 am

What an awful opening! How come you always choose the most horrible music to put in your podcasts? I mean, when I look at your stuff at Listology it seems to me that you have a great taste in music.

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Charles March 26, 2010 at 7:05 am

I look forward to the next installment!

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Jacopo March 26, 2010 at 7:12 am

Best of luck with this project Luke! The obvious respect you have for the other side of the debate equips you well to really take on their arguments. Hearing bad responses to good arguments is very detrimental to your own side, as people can begin to think ‘maybe the Christian has really got the non-Christian stumped on that one’. You’ve shown you avoid that trap, so I’m really looking forward to future episodes.

You’ve got a few projects on the go now, so I hope you can keep up with it all.

Also: Do you think you will have any guest podcasts?

You once imagined a Blackwell Companion to Atheism with an impressive list of names. Even if that doesn’t happen, you might be able to persuade some top names to talk about a specific argument for a short while.

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lukeprog March 26, 2010 at 7:42 am

Lol, some people love the music, some people hate it. :)

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lukeprog March 26, 2010 at 7:43 am

Jacopo,

I don’t plan to have guests for this podcast. The whole point of making this podcast is that it’s way, way easier than doing my other podcast. :)

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lukeprog March 26, 2010 at 7:44 am

Who will be the first to identify the track I’m using for the intro/outtro?

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lukeprog March 26, 2010 at 7:54 am

RA,

I still can’t stop laughing from the image I have in my head of you jumping up and dancing so furiously during the opening 20 seconds that you exhaust yourself too much to listen to the podcast itself.

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Aaron March 26, 2010 at 7:56 am

wow, this is a great idea. i look forward very much to hearing these as come out. :)

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RA March 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

I have an image of a gay bar raging every time that opens up. Actually, it kind of works at the end but needs to be shortened up a little. Just a little unwanted advice.

Here’s a more atheistic sounding opening (0:08-1:00):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3DrL8pwu1k

Me likey better.

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Bill Maher March 26, 2010 at 8:53 am

<3 Electro. When I was in Russia, they even played it in fast food places.

Though I am more of the Industrial & Aggrotech persuasion in electronic.

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lukeprog March 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

RA,

No, I appreciate the advice.

Uh, yeah, I can’t afford to license Radiohead.

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Robert March 26, 2010 at 9:10 am

Luke,
Do you plan to discuss the theological contradictions of God-ordained genocide, rape and slavery within the Bible?

This was discussed at length in the ‘My Ways’ conference, but a condensed version of the most relevant stuff would be good to have.

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lukeprog March 26, 2010 at 9:37 am

Robert,

Eventually, yeah.

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Cafeeine March 26, 2010 at 9:44 am

I actually thought the intro bit was going to be ‘wipeout’ before the techno started.

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RA March 26, 2010 at 9:46 am

I didn’t think about that. Oh well, maybe someone will like the song. I’m requesting the dropping of the first 14 seconds of the present theme for everyone’s sake.

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Devlin March 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

Wow, two Podcasts and an excellent frequently updated blog… when do you sleep? :-) Your work ethic is inspiring. Can’t wait for the new podcast to get rolling, good luck!

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Bill Maher March 26, 2010 at 10:25 am

Devlin, I am pretty sure Luke is actually Dr. Manhattan.

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johemoth March 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Nice idea! I’m looking forward to this.
I can’t help but wonder if it was somewhat inspired by this guy. He’s kind of a tool, but I have to say I prefer his theme music to yours :)

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Devlin March 26, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Devlin, I am pretty sure Luke is actually Dr. Manhattan.  

By Jove Bill, I think you’re right:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/devlindonnelly/4465945827/

(All apologies to Luke & Dr. Manhattan)

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Roy Chang March 27, 2010 at 12:35 am

this is so cool! looking forward to this.

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BathTub March 27, 2010 at 1:30 am
lukeprog March 27, 2010 at 3:20 am

Good links, BathTub!

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Neil March 27, 2010 at 4:40 am

The music sounds like a dance remix of Knights of Cydonia by Muse.

Will you be doing a podcast on the Craiginator’s Kalam Cosmological Argument?

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Marco March 27, 2010 at 4:41 am

Hahahha, I’m from Europe, but even I found the music a bit over the top.. I’m sure I can supply you with better tracks;) Looking forward to the following posts.

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lukeprog March 27, 2010 at 7:24 am

Neil wins!

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lukeprog March 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

BTW, I’ll be quite happy change the intro/outtro music if someone can suggest a superior option that I don’t have to pay royalty for.

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Rob March 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm

The opening of Gang of Four’s Damaged Goods. Don’t know about royalties, though it appears in its entirety in Azazel Jacobs’s low-budget indie masterpiece The Good Times Kid.

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justfinethanks March 27, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Musicloops.com has an excellent selection of royalty free ska.

I’m probably alone here, but an explanation of why Lee Strobel is an idiot would be greatly enhanced if it was preceeded by some swinging 2 Tone.

Just throwin’ that out there.

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lukeprog March 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Definitely not free, but thanks.

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Roy Chang March 27, 2010 at 11:13 pm

EPISODE TWO!!! NOW!!!

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lukeprog March 28, 2010 at 6:08 am

Roy Chang,

Thanks for your enthusiasm. :)

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Robert March 29, 2010 at 8:51 am

Luke,

It seems to me that there is a lot of dishonesty within Christian apologetics. E.g. Craig is anxious to refer to scholars when they agree with him but not when they disagree. He uses scholarship to support his “facts”, but disregards what scholars might say about the uncertainty of those “facts”.

This is a common fallacy, one that all of us are prone to commit, but after decades of study and teaching on the subject, Craig should now know that he is making such a mistake and be honest enough with his audience to stop doing it.

Will you discuss this at all? Could you at least address some of the most common dishonest tactics they have used?

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oliver March 31, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Luke, I have noticed that you do not discuss Presuppositionalism on your blog (please correct me if I’m wrong), yet it seems to be one of the most visible approaches to apologetics on the internet these days. The unfortunate thing is that there doesn’t seem to be that many resources for atheists to use to adequately understand, and respond to it. Do you intend to cover it in this podcast?

Cheers.

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Chris May 2, 2010 at 12:08 am

When are we going to get a second episode? :/

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lukeprog May 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

Chris,

Alas, I haven’t yet had time!

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